Thematic Session: Sustainable Tourism (Pillar 4) – New trends in sustainable tourism – What does the modern tourist want?
Virtual reality will be important part of the future tourism!
Cooperation, joint work and resilience of the post-2020 economy marked the discussions on the first day of the 5th EUSAIR Forum, which was held in a joint organization of the Republic of Serbia and the European Commission, with the support of the EUSAIR Facility Point project. Plenary and thematic discussions focused on the digital and green transition, sustainable development, new technologies and regional cooperation in the tourism, transport and energy sectors and aquaculture attracted more than 850 participants from 9 countries of the Adriatic-Ionian region, experts from all over Europe and European institutions. The forum was opened by the Minister of European Integration of the Republic of Serbia, Jadranka Joksimović, from the Belgrade Forum studio.
One of the problems of the Adriatic-Ionian region is the problem of human capital. Siniša Marčić from the Regional Cooperation Council, presented the data of EUROSTAT, according to which in 2018 alone, about 130,000 highly educated people emigrated from the region. This is dangerous for the region because it diminishes the ability of countries to resist the crisis. Marčić emphasizes that this is a problem that must be solved at the regional level and that the priority is to create a better environment for young people who want to realize their ideas.
New demand in tourism creates new professions
Very interesting presentations were heard in the TSG4 Sustainable Tourism panel discussion "New trends in sustainable tourism - what does a modern tourist want?". State Secretary Tonči Glavina from the Croatian Ministry of Tourism and Sports opened the discussion with his introductory speech. The average decline in tourist traffic in the region is about 70%, and the return to the "old" or to the figures from 2019 could happen only in two to three years, or 2024.
Ramune Genzbigelyte-Venturi from the Directorate-General for the Internal Market, Industry and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (DG GROW) recalled that we launched a dialogue on the future of European tourism with the European Convention on Tourism last October. Research shows shifts in demand. Tourism must change according to the wishes of travelers. Modern travelers seek safety and risk-free travel. They are looking for a better insight into the offer, in which digitalization and innovation will play a major role, and they are also looking for a unique and personalized experience with CO2-neutral travel.
In response to the new demand, new, highly specialized tourist professions are being born that will respond to the desire of tourists to experience a different, adapted journey, indicates the National Geographic research. In its research, Tripadvisor concludes that people still want to travel, look for new travel models, look for safe and closer destinations, authentic local ambiences, and open and unexplored landscapes.
Virtual reality - an important part of the "new normal"
Digitalization in tourism, as one of the responses to the crisis, means the introduction of new technologies such as virtual reality (VR). Almir Peštek from the Faculty of Economics, University of Sarajevo spoke about it. "Virtual reality will be important in the preparation of travel, but also in the preservation of resources and protection of cultural and natural assets," emphasizes Peštek and adds that "VR rather promotes than restrains tourism, and becomes part of the new reality in tourism."
"We recognize the portrait of a future traveler in the EUSAIR region, who seeks security and a touchless approach, but also feels a responsibility towards destinations. We are all aware that a huge effort is still ahead of us, that tourism relies on trust and a reliable relationship between people. Therefore, we strive for a new vision of tourism, responsible, transformative and sustainable, fully dedicated to our new brave consumers ", concluded yesterday's discussion Tonči Glavina, State Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of the Republic of Croatia.